Brazil Tells UK: Take Back Your Toxic Trash!
Photo via photohome uk via Flickr CC
Toxic trash, including things like syringes, condoms and bags of blood, were sent to three Brazilian ports from the UK. An investigation is underway about how the trash arrived there, and more importantly, when it'll be returned to the UK for proper disposal. Brazil is ticked off, and some unknown folks are sweating under the collar over in Britain. The BBC reports:
The Environment Agency says those responsible could face prosecution. It confirmed its Brazilian counterpart has named Worldwide Biorecyclables and UK Multiplas Recycling - both based in Swindon - as being involved, but would not confirm or deny whether the agency was investigating the two companies.
[Head of waste Liz] Parks told the BBC's Newshour she understood the waste, found in about 90 shipping containers, was currently being held by the Brazilian authorities.
It's just a matter of time before the waste is shipped back to the UK, and the British courts take hazardous waste violations very seriously, especially as the shipped waste violated the Basel Convention that both the UK and Brazil are part of. It's mainly household junk like food containers and newspapers, but also e-waste mixed in as well. But because of some of the grosser contents mentioned above, as well as the fact that the trash was starting to rot - which means insect larvae and mold - it's deemed dangerous.
It's a bit of a messy mix-up when it comes to what was supposed to be shipped for recycling and what was actually shipped. Shipping waste and recyclables to other places for processing can lead to a lot of problems - the most dire of which we highlighted yesterday with e-waste being sent to Ghana. However, economically it can make a lot more sense to send items to other countries, especially if the alternative is landfilling it. But not hazardous waste that goes against Basil Conventions...that's a whole other story.